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Orlando Magic at Brooklyn Nets: Game Preview

Dan Savage
Director of Digital News

One night after one of their most lopsided losses of the season, the Orlando Magic will head out on the road and attempt to wash away the bitter taste of a tough defeat. 

On Sunday, Orlando allowed the Philadelphia 76ers to shoot a scorching 64.9 percent from the floor – matching the highest shooting percentage ever allowed by the franchise – as it dropped a 133-103 decision. 

Now, the Magic will look to bounce back in Brooklyn on Monday night when they face the Nets at 7:30 p.m. ET. 

“There’s (still) an overall confidence in our team that if we take care of our things, we have a chance to beat anyone on any given night,” said Magic center Moe Wagner. “We know what our things are and if we lock in on them, we’re going to be a winning basketball team. But that’s an everyday thing and it’s obviously a process. You have to keep going even (after) days like this.” 

Making matters even tougher for one of the league’s youngest and most inexperienced teams is Orlando’s injury situation. Already missing six players due to injury, the Magic suffered additional setbacks on Sunday when Terrence Ross (illness) and Mo Bamba (back spasms) were unable to play in the second half. That left Orlando with just nine players – two of which are on two-way contracts – to close out the contest against Philadelphia. 

“I’ve haven’t seen anything like this. I really haven’t,” said Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosley. “I know there was the COVID hit. There was the injury hit. But I haven’t seen much like this. We have seven guys coming down the stretch. Whether that’s because of injury or guys are getting sick, it’s something different. But obviously, we talk about it’s not an excuse.” 

Leaving Brooklyn with a victory on Monday night will certainly be no easy task. After opening the season with a 2-5 record, the Nets fired head coach Steve Nash and have since won eight of their last 14 games.  

Since former Magic Head Coach Jacque Vaughn took over the reins in Brooklyn, the Nets have a top-five defensive rating (109.0) and a top-10 offensive rating (113.1). They’ve been tremendous at protecting the interior over that stretch, allowing just 43.3 points in the paint per game, the second-best mark in the NBA. 

Kevin Durant remains one of the league’s best scorers, firing off 29.3 points per game while shooting 53.4 percent from the floor. 

IN AND OUT: Mo Bamba (back spasms) and Chuma Okeke (left knee soreness) are questionable. Markelle Fultz (fractured left big toe) is getting closer to a return but will not play on Monday. Cole Anthony (right internal oblique tear), Wendell Carter Jr. (right plantar fascia; strain), Jonathan Isaac (left knee injury recovery), Terrence Ross (illness), and Jalen Suggs (right ankle soreness) are also out.

For Brooklyn, David Duke Jr. (non-COVID illness), T.J. Warren (left foot injury recovery), Yuta Watanabe (right hamstring strain), and Alondes Williams (G League – Two-Way) are out.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “That’s a problem because that’s one thing we need to have. Again, that’s a decision we’ve got to make. That’s not an IQ thing. That’s not a talent thing. That’s an energy, effort thing. We’ve got to come up with that every day. Even on bad days. That’s a problem if we don’t bring that.” – Moe Wagner on the Magic’s defensive intensity 

HOW TO WATCH: Watch the game on Bally Sports Florida or tune in on radio via FM 96.9 The Game.